Solano v. Abrenica, 69 Cal. App. 4th 997
OVERVIEW: Plaintiff and defendant, teammates in a tennis organization, were on the same side of the net in a practice session with two other teammates. When the team captain ended the session, the participants stopped playing, and plaintiff began to leave the tennis court by walking alongside the net. However, defendant made one more serve and the ball struck plaintiff in the eye, causing injuries. Plaintiff sued defendant, and the trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the court held that because plaintiff was no longer participating in the game at the time she was struck by the tennis ball, she did not assume the risks of being a tennis participant, and defendant was not entitled to the defense of primary assumption of risk. Thus, there were questions of material fact on defendant's duty to plaintiff as a non-participant of the game and whether or not defendant's conduct was reckless. Therefore, the court reversed the order.
OUTCOME: The court reversed the order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for injuries after being struck by a tennis ball served by defendant, plaintiff's teammate, at the end of a practice session, because plaintiff's assumption of the risks inherent in tennis ended when the practice session ended, and a jury could find that defendant acted recklessly. Thus, summary judgment was inappropriate.